Inauguration officials to work with eBay, Craigslist to avoid ticket scalping

January 17, 2013

The congressional committee responsible for the Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol said today that they were working with eBay and Craigslist to stop the scalping of tickets for the ceremony.

In recent days, a healthy cottage industry of inaugural ticket-scalping has sprung up in both online market spaces, with tickets to Monday’s ceremonial swearing-in selling for thousands online. Even as late as Thursday morning, an eBay seller “luvly_scene22” had listed two tickets “to the 2013 Presidential Inauguration” for $800.

“I didn’t know you couldn’t sell them, so I guess not any more,” the seller said in a brief telephone interview. She said she had obtained the tickets through her state representative and hung up when asked her name and other details.

The committee said that some tickets, which are marked “Not for Sale” on the back, were being scalped for thousands of dollars in some cases. eBay will now enforce a policy not to allow these listings on their site, while Craigslist employees will monitor their site and remove these listings, the committee said.

“This year’s Presidential Inaugural Ceremonies are not for sale,” the committee chair, U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), said in a statement. “eBay and Craigslist are doing the right thing in stopping the sale of scalped tickets to one of our nation’s most sacred events. I hope that everyone who has an Inaugural ticket will think twice before posting these tickets on any ticket resale site.”

About 250,000 tickets were distributed for free to members of the public through congressional offices, according to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

Although the excitement over President Obama’s second inauguration is not quite as great as four years ago, the official release of the tickets this week has prompted a heated scramble on Capitol Hill, with some lawmakers trying to score extras.

Annie Gowen is The Post’s India bureau chief and has reported for the Post throughout South Asia and the Middle East.
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